US rejects 'insult to democracy' as Venezuela president Maduro pursues second term

US rejects 'insult to democracy' as Venezuela president Maduro pursues second termPresident Nicolas Maduro casts his vote during the presidential elections in Caracas on Sunday. The United States condemned Venezuela’s election as “an insult to democracy” and opposition leaders rejected a “fraud foretold” on Sunday as low voter turnout looked to have spoiled what President Nicolás Maduro had promised would be a great “fiesta” of democracy. Venezuela’s 34,000 polling stations – open since 6am when Maduro cast the first vote – had been due to close at 6pm.


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Hamas plans further protests as it rejects medical supplies from Israel

Hamas plans further protests as it rejects medical supplies from IsraelHamas plans to continue protests along the Gaza border and hopes to see a mass demonstration on June 5 which will rival the size of this week’s protests, a spokesman said on Wednesday.   Two days after Israeli forces killed more than 60 Palestinians and wounded more than 2,000, the Islamist group which controls the Gaza Strip said the demonstrations would keep going ahead of the June anniversary of the 1967 war.   “The protests will continue because they have not achieved their goals yet,” said Hazem Qasem, a spokesman for the group. “Our desire here is for June 5 to be as big as May 14.” A senior Hamas leader also said on television that 50 of the 62 people killed on Monday were members of Hamas.  The comments by Salah Bardawil, a political leader in the group, were immediately seized on by Israel’s military as it tried to fend off widespread international criticism over the number of people killed by live fire on the border.  “The branding of the riots as ‘peaceful protests’ could not be further from the truth,” an Israeli military spokesman said. Meanwhile, Guatemala became the first country to follow America’s lead and move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, called the move “the beginning of something extraordinary” and said he hoped other countries would soon follow the US by bringing their embassies to Jerusalem.  As Israel and Hamas continued to fight a battle of of narratives over the killings, Hamas refused to accept a medical shipment from the Israeli military, despite a severe shortage of hospital supplies with which to treat the wounded.  Mr Qasem dismissed Israel’s decision to send the aid as a propaganda stunt. “The occupation is trying to show that it has a human face, which is wrong. These trucks carrying these medical supplies are covered with Palestinian blood,” he said.  Israel said the Hamas refusal was proof that it did not care about the residents of Gaza. Several other aid shipments from the UN and the Palestinian Authority were allowed in.  Israel’s ambassador to Turkey left the country on Wednesday after Ankara ordered him to leave the country. Turkish media filmed him facing an intensive security search at the airport, prompting Israel’s foreign ministry to lodge an official complaint over his treatment.


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China rejects US military claims of laser attacks on pilots

China rejects US military claims of laser attacks on pilotsChina on Friday rejected US allegations that Chinese nationals shone military-grade lasers at American pilots in Djibouti, dismissing the claims as “inconsistent with facts”. Beijing, which operates a naval base in the Horn of Africa country, denied Pentagon accusations that Chinese personnel have targeted US pilots in the country with the beams, resulting in minor injuries to airmen and creating the potential for an accident. “After careful verification, we have told the US explicitly that the so-called accusations are totally inconsistent with facts,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.


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U.S. top court rejects Constitution Pipeline over New York permit

U.S. top court rejects Constitution Pipeline over New York permitBy Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt another setback to a proposed natural gas pipeline running from Pennsylvania to New York, rejecting Constitution Pipeline Co’s bid to challenge New York state’s refusal to issue a needed water permit for the project. The high court left in place an August 2017 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the state. Partners in the 125-mile (201-km) pipeline project include Williams Cos Inc, Duke Energy Corp, WGL Holdings Inc and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates pipelines, first approved construction of the project in 2014 and then again in 2016, conditional upon other approvals.


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